sacre bleu

What’s the old Seinfeld line about lactose… he’s intolerant of it and will not stand for it? I may finally be sharing his conviction on that one. Yes, I stand here a bit wobbly in the knee, a survivor of an incident eerily similar to my ill-fated encounter with Johnny Rockets so many years back — some of you may still remember my cries of pain stuck in traffic on the Queensboro bridge, the wild-eyed rush through a fancy Italian restaurant to the “powder room” and later the loud assertions of what sort of “rockets” the restaurant chain title portended…
 Yes, last Friday’s encounter had all the same ingredients. First there was the rare lunch-time outing to the wildly popular chain burger joint, Shake Shack, which I must say is a good tick above what Johnny Rockets ever aspired to being but still not exactly worth waiting an hour in line for, right? I did find it something to rush, if not write, home about… thank you, hold your applause, please. No, so even though I’ve always been wary of the burger and shake combo ever since the J.R. debacle, I was lured in by the prominence on the menu of a coffee shake made with organic and fair-traded coffee beans… first, impressed by how organically and fairly the beans were traded for but then tempted by the prospect of a bit more caffeine for the big Friday afternoon push at the workplace (we had a goodbye party to attend that afternoon). I noticed as a mere afterthought that the shakes were also made from a frozen custard base, so probably extra, extra creamy and teeming with the lactose my stomach can just barely put up with and even then, only if there are plenty of its own friends between him and them. This recognition of the word “custard” caused just a fraction of second’s hesitation before I threw caution to the breaking wind, so to speak, and placed my order. The lunch tasted good. The shake, pretty good though a bit too much like drinking heavy cream for my tastes. Nevertheless, drink it I did over the course of the next hour or so. Goodbye party attended in the office courtyard, manners of the mild variety abounding, until I excuse myself for the day trying to get a head start on the weekend traffic. But traffic there was, of course, since rush-hour on a summer Friday in New England starts around noon and ends at 11pm as everyone and their dog and their roof-mounted bikes head for the Cape, which is why we have possibly never driven to the Cape during peak hours in the six years we’ve lived here. Ah, but follow the herd I did to Shake Shack with their custard shakes, didn’t I? And let’s just say it was a white-knuckled ride home, hands locking onto the steering wheel to ride out recurring waves of pain, looking heavenward with watery eyes and cursing the day I became an atheist, breathing in short but powerful inhales and exhales out the car window, making drivers next to me nervous with some erratic and convulsive lane shifts. The contractions were less than a minute apart by the time I pulled into my driveway… I think the car kept rolling after I leapt out of it, but that was of little concern.  Everyone’s so worried about Big Brother and everything being caught on film, but I’d be happy to review street surveillance footage of my flight to the side porch door. Moving quickly, a bit hunkered and low to the ground but careful to not jostle or contort the torso in any way… a low glide, I’d like to think. Hey, but all’s well that ends well, is it not?? I made the bucket, AND the foul, as they say. Hello? Too much?

Hey, these are the life experiences we’ll miss when we’re dead and gone, believe you me. You can quote me on that. Another such life experience was Isaac’s sixth birthday party. A good portion of his class came over to the house and I found out that it takes just 3-4 kindergarten boys to gang-tackle me. We were playing some simpler version of soccer, as in no goals and just get the person with the ball, which we used to call something wholly inappropriate in grade school (let’s leave that memory be for now, having lost most of the readers above), when a bunch of boys far more aggressive than Isaac made short work of me by going right for the ankles, then when three of them had my legs secured a fourth kid just bowled me over. “Thank you for coming to our home. Welcome! I’m Isaac’s dad…” I had to yell at latecomers from the dirt-posing-as-lawn, whilst getting my t-shirt nearly torn by my giggling attackers. Apparently playing with the kids puts you on equal or slightly less-than-equal footing with them. Later this one kid Ethan put grass in my plate of food and thought that was hysterical. All the moms were off having adult conversations… clearly knowing better than to attempt to “hang” with the little ones. But Isaac had a good time, and I’m thinking it’s some sort of milestone/turning point to not have a kid aged 5 or younger now. Nothing but mature conversations and evening reading time from here on out, I imagine. The cats will finally calm down, stop destroying everything we own… the kids will even start to take care of the cats and themselves. Ah, I’ll finally have time for the ambitious garden we always plant but then neglect throughout the summer. I can ride that excellent hand-me-down road bike that sits looking super-cool in my garage most of the time. I can get through a book in less than six months.

Oh, I’ve been telling everyone I encounter — to the point I’ve stopped encountering people — to read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. I guess I’m like 18 years late on this one, and it’s apparently one of the more pretentious things to make a show of doing, reading this book, but that won’t stop me from saying it’s really worth the many month investment of time it will take to read this tome. It manages to be encyclopedic and silly at the same time, which is about all I could ask for really. He goes a bit crazy with footnotes, as in footnotes that sometimes contain whole side stories. The book requires two bookmarks (one for where you are in the footnotes) and I had to go to sleep one night mid-footnote… but it’s quickly becoming one of my all-time favorites.

Ok, I spent way too long recounting a gastrointestinal incident (if I had a nickel…), so I’m going to have to call it a night. I hope your summers are off to good starts. I’ll have to save for next time the story of our ill-fated above ground pool, which came and went like it’s $50 price tag suggested it might. What we lose to water bills we gain in wisdom though, no? Honey, did the power go out or have we been cut off the grid? Until next time…




About ericf73

A modern-day combination of Noah, Godot and Clark W. Griswold.
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